Can you survive a robbery? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Can you survive a robbery?

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November 22, 2005

Albany -- What can you do to protect your home and yourself from robbers?

Police say the solutions are simple. Don't become complacent, always be aware of your surroundings, and don't make it easy for criminals to hide around your home and catch you off guard.

Todd Rowand lives just a couple blocks away from both Lake Park families who were robbed at gunpoint. "Of course the proximity makes you a little nervous," he says.

He says he and his wife have already talked about taking extra precautions. "We're starting to turn on our flood lights at night to illuminate this area where we get out of our vehicles."

"As we're driving into our driveway is there anything out of place, is there a car that shouldn't be there?"

Rowand also keeps his garage door closed and makes sure all doors, including dead bolts are locked. All things police say everyone should do. "One of the biggest things is people being creatures of habit. When they pull up to their house they do the same thing, pull right in, hop out, go right into the house. As you're pulling in let your headlights scan the area, and look," says Lt. Tracey Barnes.

Officers also recommend keeping the area around your home lit with motion-detecting lights and clear of tall foliage. "A lot of people have bushes that are grown up high in front of their houses, very easy for people to hide behind them. You need to keep them trimmed down where people cannot hide behind them," Barnes says.

And if you have a garage, close it as soon as you pull in. "If you open your garage you should be able to see if anybody is in there. Once you get in, close it before you exit your vehicle, and that way you can go right inside your house and no one can run up from the outside in," Barnes says.

Rowand says he's glad street lights help illuminate his house, but worries about what runs behind it. "In some of the alleys frankly it's not illuminated very well. I think that part of the problem," Rowand says.

And if you are confronted by a criminal, police say don't fight them, your safety is worth more than any possessions they may get away with.

Police also urge parents to teach their children to be aware of their surroundings, especially those who are home alone after school. They also recommend bringing them to neighborhood watch meetings where they can learn safety tips from officers.

Albany police say you can also sign up for their citizens police academy. Their next class is in March, but officers say they don't have a lot of interest. Only about a dozen people who sign up finish the 12-week course.

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